'Euro BitLicense' Coming to France? New Report Charts Possibilities

‘Euro BitLicense’ Coming to France? New Report Charts Possibilities

Back in January 2018, France’s Minister of Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire tasked former Deputy Governor of the Banque de France Jean-Pierre Landau with charting out ways France might approach regulating cryptocurrency commerce. Landau’s now concluded his crypto report, which, at one point, cited a “Euro BitLicense” as a potential regulatory model and noted “experimental” national-level regulation might be needed.

Also see: A Blockchain by Any Other Name? The SEC Says It’s Still on the Nose

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‘Experimental Regulation’ on Crypto Might Be Coming to France

At the start of 2018,  Minister Bruno Le Maire tasked Jean-Pierre Landau with a “mission” to list out regulatory possibilities France might take toward the fledgling cryptoeconomy.

Bruno Le Maire.

At the time, Le Maire said:

“This mission will provide me with information on the evolution of the regulations to better control the development and prevent the use for the purpose of tax evasion, money laundering or financing of activities criminals or terrorism.”

Now, Landau’s completed that mission,  publishing his findings in a July 4th report entitled “Les crypto-monnaies,” or, translated to English, “Cryptocurrencies.” 

The report is over 100 pages long, but two of the more interesting takeaways from it include 1) Landau’s citation of New York state’s BitLicense crypto regulation, and 2) his call for possible national-level “experimental regulation” so as to foster, and not collide with, the domestic cryptoeconomy.

Landau’s Proposal

On page 58 of his report, Landau specifically cited the BitLicense as one regulatory model that could be looked to for precedent:

“Many market places already regulate the cryptocurrency exchanges on the basis of accreditation and special rules. This is in particular the case of BitLicense in the jurisdiction of New York. The Financial Services Department of the State of New York (NYDFS) has so far granted only five BitLicenses, two of which were granted to Ripple and the Gemini platform. These have publicly emphasized the benefits of such a licensing-based regulation, which presents the double advantage of facilitating the opening and maintaining of a business relationship with banks and offering more broad guarantees to institutional investors wishing to carry out transactions in crypto-currencies.”

In other words, what Landau is suggesting is that a BitLicense-style system might help bring cryptocurrency use into the financial mainstream in France.

After this point in the report, Landau explored some of the standing laws of the European Union that might stifle the domestic cryptoeconomy if not addressed. To this end, Landau posited whether federal-level “experimental regulation” could create a regulatory sandbox that would make it so crypto businesses don’t flee France:

“The regulation of cryptocurrency exchanges could therefore pass, in the short term, by experimental national level regulation, with […] related obligations being modulated according to the reality of the different commerce exercised.”

What Comes Next?

Landau’s proposals here are a far cry from the regulatory harshness he and Bruno Le Maire seemed to be gunning toward initially. An evolution of thought has clearly taken place.

Landau even shared elements of his latest report at a new Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) roundtable on Digital Financial Assets.

All that we can say for now is that France’s top financial officials are closely scrutinizing how to best approach cryptocurrencies and that they’ve looked to the BitLicense as a potential model. The BitLicense is certainly controversial in the United States, but even the fact that France has looked to it suggests that the nation’s leadership is interested in bringing crypto use into the daylight.

What’s your take? Should France not use the BitLicense as a model? Let us know what you think in the comments below. 


Images via Jean-Pierre Landau, L’Express

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